Co-Ho Grill has been apart of Howard County for quite some time, I’ve visited it in the past and it had above average food in a very average sterile golf course setting. Over the past year or so, the restaurant has gone under a transformation, literally. The ownership group of the restaurant has completely renovated the space to bring a new hip and modern atmosphere to the restaurant space. Unfortunately, while it is very nice inside, it still felt like the new space felt more like a chic hotel than a cool restaurant. The acoustics lead to a very intimate setting, noise from other diners does not really travel due to all of the acoustical work put into the ceiling and walls.
The staff at Co-Ho Grill is very friendly and they seated us promptly, the crowd during our visit to the restaurant is a much older crowd but I’m not one to discriminate on where older folks like to eat. The menu for Co-Ho Grill is very appealing, one it’s relatively small so you don’t get overwhelmed by a million menu choices. Two, the chef has clearly made an effort to break out of the comfort zones of Howard County. He has fun menu items that at least push some of the boundaries of sensisbility for the many (not all) close-minded eaters in Howard County.
We began with the macaroni and cheese balls, macaroni and cheese balls are popping up more and more on menus these days, and for good reason. They are damn delicious. The cheese balls at Co-Ho Grill are crispy and rich with a nice subtle hint of cheddar. The flour thin crispy breading doesn’t overpower the bite, so it’s an overall pleasant appetizer.
I started off with the fried chicken and dumplings, ordering comfort food or almost fast food type dishes at supposed high-end restaurants is always a treat for me. I think sometimes the true mark of an excellent chef is how well he/she can elevate a dish that tastes great even when a pimply faced 17 year old behind a deep fryer makes it just as good. The fried chicken itself was pan fried with a delicate breading that was very crisp but not too crunchy; the chicken itself was juicy and was seasoned well. Meanwhile, sweet potato dumplings resembled sweet potato gnocchi which was not a problem with me because they were light and delicate. Overall the dish was very well done and executed.
We ordered a side of macaroni and cheese because again, who doesn’t love mac & cheese? Don’t answer that, I don’t want to know that some of my readers don’t like quite possibly the most delicious food in the universe. Anyways, their macaroni and cheese like their macaroni and cheese balls are delicious, but surprisingly different. The side of mac and cheese was creamier and very cheesy. It was baked with a delicious delicate crust on top, out of everything we ordered this was far and away the best thing we had.
Next on tap was the CoHoberfest, which was a array of various pork products, (always a good start). It was their take on German cuisine and it was fairly delicious. The pork belly, braised, was the star of the show as it was savory and delicate enough to truly melt in your mouth. Meanwhile the pork spare rib was juicy and tender with a mild seasoning that is consistent with German cuisine. The bratwurst that accompanied the dish was also well prepared and cooked all the way through, all in all it was a solid dish albeit not spectacular.
We finished the meal by sharing an upside-down apple cake, that was really just a cupcake for all intents and purposes. The cake was delicate with a subtle apple flavor, again it was a well executed but not spectacular.
Overall Co-Ho Grill 2.0 is on the right path to doing some fun things in Howard County food. The creativity in the menu is welcomed, but I also understand that they have to stay in the food creativity lane of their seemingly older clientele. The food itself is well executed but not spectacular either, it’s slightly above average. I would definitely return to give it another try to see what else they have on their menu.
Overall Grade: B